The benefits of owning a pet

Classically it has been said that having a dog or cat for company, offering their loyalty, love and trust to the family, improves your lifestyle. But now this concept of companion pets goes further. There is evidence to suggest that pets are a fundamental support for people living alone
or for single parents; a situation that is becoming more common. In some cases, the social support offered by an animal is greater than the support another human could offer. Several studies recommend pets for children and adults  with psychological problems, elderly people and many other groups of people. Stroking the  coats of cats and dogs has relaxing effects on humans. Pet ownership can teach us responsibility as we must provide the animals with veterinary care, food, walks and satisfy their physiological needs,  etc. A dog, for example, improves our sociability as we need to leave the house to take him for walks, which in turn tears us away from the TV, computer or work, encouraging us to make friends with other dog owners.  Our pets also invite us to play; both children and adults alike, bringing smiles to our faces and encouraging laughter – which in turn keeps us feeling  young.  Rare is the psychologist who fails to give this advice to his patient… «Buy your child a dog, a cat, a bird or an aquarium.» There are numerous foundations  with the slogan «pets benefit your health.» Scientific research testifies to this ‘pet ower’ and budgies, gerbils, rabbits, cats, dogs and fish all have their part to play. Contact with animals can
bring real physiological and psychological benefits: reducing stress, helping to prevent illness and allergies, lowering blood pressure and aiding recovery. In short, it is highly recommended to have a pet. You must however always try to find one that best suits your lifestyle.
Before bringing a pet into your life ask yourself the following questions:
■ Why do you want a pet?
■ Do you have time for a pet?
■ Can you afford a pet?
■ Are you prepared to deal with any special problems the animal may cause?
■ Can you have a pet where you live?
■ Is it the right time for you to get a pet?
■ Are your living arrangements suited to the animal you have in mind?
■ Who will care for your animal if you have to be away or die?
■ Are you able and prepared to care for and keep the animal for the rest of his life?

No one wants to see an animal end up in a shelter or abandoned, or being abused and neglected. So before anyone rushes off to get a pet, all
the above questions should be answered as truthfully as possible. The next step is to carefully choose the type of pet most suited to the individual, and match up the right animal to the right owner. People wanting more security in their home has played a huge part in the popularity of guard dogs. And although very effective for this purpose, the downside of this trend has been the increase of pit-bulls or
rottweilers taught to frighten people. It is now fashionable to have ‘aggressive dogs’. Bites from dogs whose owners have not obtained a ‘guard dog  licence’ are becoming frequent.  It is also not uncommon is to find a neighbour who hates dogs and complains they leave
fur in communal areas, bark at night or that the elevator smells of dog. These people are precisely those who could most benefit from owning a pet! The benefits of pet ownership to society are far greater  than the problems it may cause – as this society is degenerating due to major stress which is often curable with owning a pet. So you know, own a pet and see society change!

This article was published in Costa Blanca News.

Autor: Juan Griñan

Juan Manuel Griñán es veterinario del Centro Veterinario JG desde 1988 y está especialmente formado en neurología, resonancia magnética, endoscopia, anestesia y cirugía, traumatología, y en medicina y cirugía de exóticos, en especial aves. contactar con Juan

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